Internal Brand Engagement
Have you ever been sitting at a cafe and overheard some people at a neighboring table trash-talking their jobs or their employer? This would likely make you think twice about giving them your business. But if the same people were displaying pride in their work and praising their employer, wouldn’t it give you extra confidence in using their company to meet your needs? This confidence comes from the feeling that their company brand is not just a marketing strategy, but rather deeply held values. People prefer to do business with companies that stand for something beyond just making money. It’s important that a company’s first marketing efforts are internal and develop buy-in from the employees involved.
Employees as Brand Ambassadors
The best brand ambassador is one that demonstrates the brand values on a daily basis and does so as part of their own self-identity. Nobody wants to do business with an employee who obviously doesn’t care about the product or service they’re selling. Consumers want to be able to believe that the salesperson would use the product or service in their own lives, they want to see authentic enthusiasm and faith in the company.
When an employee becomes a brand ambassador the benefits are reaped by the customers, other employees, and management. These benefits include increased employee retention, better customer service, and higher levels of productivity. An employee becomes a brand ambassador when they believe in the company’s values and sees them being carried out in words and deeds throughout the company. The best mechanism that a business owner can use to create brand ambassadors out of employees is robust internal brand engagement.
What is Internal Brand Engagement?
Most people think of marketing as an outgoing message, and so the idea of internal brand engagement seems strange. Companies should think of employees as their first customers. They should be empowering employees to become emotionally invested in the company’s values. When people are emotionally invested in the company’s values, they are more likely to exhibit excellence in all facets of their work.
When employees become stakeholders, not just laborers, companies get a higher quality of work and customer interaction. Creating stakeholders out of employees can be facilitated by making sure that your company stands for things that go beyond profit and productivity.
To create a stakeholder culture, try implementing some of the following practices:
- Praise employees in public and save corrections for a private setting
- Pay them well and offer advancement opportunities
- Show appreciation with gestures like lunches and fun outings
- Have a safe forum for complaints and suggestions
- Include them in decision-making processes (when appropriate)
- Offer them opportunities for training and professional development
- Ensure work / life balance
- Reinforce company values with things like posters, presentations, and initiatives that openly recognize when employees exemplify one of the company’s values
The Benefits of a Stakeholder Employee
A stakeholder employee is more likely to impact a company in ways one might not expect. They are more likely to exceed the expectations of their role, more likely to stay with the company, and more likely to refer others for employment. Using internal brand engagement to create stakeholders out of employees will have longer-lasting benefits than any single ad campaign or PR effort would. These stakeholder employees will represent your brand with pride in and out of the office, which will catch the ears of strangers at their favorite lunch spot for all of the right reasons. So next time you’re planning marketing efforts, start by empowering the core of your company.